Redneck MIDI Sustain Pedal - DIY

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Introduction: Redneck MIDI Sustain Pedal - DIY

The great secreat of sustain pedals for electronic keyboards is that they are just on-off switches. That is, when you press the pedal, two wires are connected. That's it. Now suppose you are in the mood for composing and playing, and you realize that your pedal is somehow missing. This instructable shows how to make a temporary (but working!) MIDI pedal out of things around you. No tools, experience or ability required !
You will need:
1. An empty CD box
2. 3-5 Paperclips
3. Some wires
4. 1/4" jack/adapter with cable
5. Duck tape
6. Plasticine cat to oversee you activities

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Step 1: Attach Paper Clips to Make It Bouncy

1. Take an empty CD box and remove the label.
2 .Put a bent paper clip inside, as shown.
3. Tape it to the box with duck tape.

Now if you try to close it, it will bounce back, like a pedal. The problem is that it will snap closed if you press hard enough. We resolve this problem in the next step.

Step 2: Make It a Pedal

1.Take your favorite tool (scredriver, knife, ruler, fork) and remove those little bits on the cover that make it snap and lock closed. There are usually four of them.
2.Now press on the cover and see if it bounces back with enough force.
3.Add more paperclips on the inside to your satisfaction.


Note that you probably won't get enough force to sustain the weight of your foot, unless you have really hardcore paperclips.

Step 3: Attach the Wires

1. Now take some wire (any wire will do, I found some speaker wires) and strip them using your favourite tool (i.e., teeth).
2. Firmly attach a paperclip to each wire by twisting, wrapping around, tying a knot, etc. (just don't solder =)
3. Now duck tape the wires with paperclips to the CD box so that the paperclips touch when the box is closed, and don't touch when it's open.

Step 4: Attach the Jack

1. Look around for a 1/4" jack with wires, or an adaptor with a cable. I found an RCA to 1/4" adaptor, so I am sacrificing an RCA cable.
2. Strip the other end of the cable with 1/4" jack
3. Attach the wires from your new pedal by twisting.
4. Use duck tape to insulate and firmly attach the wires to each other.

Step 5: Plug in and Enjoy

Try your new pedal and have fun !

Note: it is impossible for you to ever screw up anywhere in this instructable. If you "short" the wires, you will simply get a pedal which is always pressed, which might be useful or not depending on the style of your music. So you and your instrument are safe, unless you try to somehow plug the pedal into an electricity socket while holding the wires.

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    39 Discussions

    0
    BurdUp
    BurdUp

    3 years ago

    Thanks for letting me know how to make a "jew pedal".

    0
    HadiT
    HadiT

    5 years ago on Introduction

    In video form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca09WBLxYXQ

    0
    dan3008
    dan3008

    5 years ago on Introduction

    "Note: it is impossible for you to ever screw up anywhere in this instructable. If you "short" the wires, you will simply get a pedal which is always pressed, which might be useful or not depending on the style of your music. So you and your instrument are safe, unless you try to somehow plug the pedal into an electricity socket while holding the wires."
    Instructions not clear, got nose stuck in instrument...
    Joking aside, Nice ible :)

    0
    ruler_of_earth
    ruler_of_earth

    7 years ago on Step 5

    You, sir, are a genius. I made one, it works great, and it was so easy to make!

    0
    ikhan8
    ikhan8

    8 years ago on Introduction

    brilliant! I made one last night. Works great but I had to make a few changes - mine did the exact opposite i.e. the sustain was on when the paperclips aren't touching - so I just set it up so that when you press down, the connection breaks.
    I used and old fashioned tin with a bullfrog clip and it feels very sturdy!

    0
    romwell
    romwell

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks!

    If you have a Yamaha keyboard, note that it can accept both kinds of pedals (the ones which create the connection on push down as well as the ones that break it). When you turn the keyboard on, it looks at the state of the pedal and treats this as "pedal off".

    0
    elamont
    elamont

    8 years ago on Step 5

    thanks for the tip! I cut up an old headphone 3.5 -> 2.5 cord i found lying around, and connected it through a 3.5->jack converter.
    works awesomely! now i just need to find a good spring..... ( i dont think those paperclips will last long).....

    Made this and it's the only sustain pedal I've ever needed. I used a spare drum kick pedal instead of a cd case. Told my old radioshack boss about it. He said plastic ones they sell always break and get refunded. He really liked using a metal drum pedal. Thanks Mr. Redneck

    0
    skantimahanthi
    skantimahanthi

    8 years ago on Step 5

    Going to try right now ) ......Lets see how it work ....Thanks man !!

    0
    munchmucnh
    munchmucnh

    8 years ago on Step 5

    I'm a bit confused what kind of wires do i need?

    0
    blufalcon94
    blufalcon94

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks so much for this instructable! Works great! The CD case feel weak and like its going to crack any second but its probably just the case that I'm using

    0
    rkhimura
    rkhimura

    9 years ago on Introduction

    it doesn't works on mine piano, am i doing sometihng wrong, i have a CASIO PX-100

    0
    schnellboot
    schnellboot

    11 years ago on Introduction

    u can change some parts for the very poor person (no I'm not poor): paperclips : alu foil cd case : cardboard and for the ultimate poor persons here u can glue the two contacts on a piece of wood that fits into the female port to use that instead of the mono jack

    0
    romwell
    romwell

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    That makes construction harder, though =) And cardboard will probably break.

    0
    karadza3a
    karadza3a

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I think if you have money for keyboards, that you won't have any problems with finding paperclips and cd case... :)